From tiny little stove to tiny little plate, finger food of a special sort has captured the fancy of Anna Werner:
If you're hungry, how about a little lasagna, a little sushi, a little pumpkin pie? Emphasis on the word "little."
Because these dishes barely merit a bite. It's tiny food, prepared in -- what else? -- a tiny kitchen.
The "Tiny Kitchen" video series comes from a company called Tastemade, based in Santa Monica.
"'Tiny Kitchen' is a show where we are cooking in a tiny kitchen set and legitimately cooking tiny foods," said head of programming Oren Katzeff. "Whether it's tiny quesadillas, tiny tacos, tiny eggs, it really is made down to scale. I mean, it's not fake bacon, it's not fake eggs. This is real food being made in a real, tiny kitchen."
And people have really developed a big taste for it, viewing episodes more than 600 million times in the last year-and-a-half.
Most of Tastemade's online shows feature regular-sized foods. This idea started almost as a joke, when Jay Holzer (the head of development and production) bought one of his daughters a new dollhouse for Christmas.
"We had to figure out something to do with the old one," Holzer said. "So we brought it here and we built kind of the first 'Tiny Kitchen' set inside of that dollhouse.'
About two years ago, Holzer said, "Somebody decided, 'Hey, let's play with tiny food.' And so we made a tiny burger, a tiny plate of spaghetti, and a tiny stack of pancakes that day."
And of course, if you cook small, you need tiny utensils, like the miniature knives sent over from Japan -- a place, it should be noted, where "all things cute" (kawaii is their word for it) is all the rage.
Turns out, people worldwide love it, too. There are now tiny kitchens producing food -- and videos -- in five countries, and all over social media.
Why the fascination?
"There's almost this feeling of disbelief: 'I can't believe that they're actually making this dish that I'm used to seeing as normal size,'" said Katzeff.
"And do people think it's easy to do?" Werner asked.
"I think so. And that's part of the magic, right? It's a little bit mind-blowing, it's a little bit brain-tingling, and you feel, like, I wanna know how to do that -- this doesn't seem that hard."
But, Katzeff added, "It is a lot tougher than it looks."
He's got that right. The company set Werner up with their resident "Tiny Food" chef (what they call a food stylist) Hannah Aufmuth, who offered to show Werner how to make a tiny donut. Just a simple, little donut.
Take a tiny egg (it's a quail egg, in case you're wondering), mix with some flour and milk, then deep-fry it on a tiny stove, with a tiny flame from sterno.
How hard could it be?
"That's not even fair," Werner said of the results. "Yours look like donuts. And mine looks like … yeah."
"I've had a lot of practice," Aufmuth laughed.
Next up: a tiny mop.
From "Tiny Kitchen":
- Hungry for regular-sized dishes?
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